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What is DART? (Domestic Abuse, Recovering Together)

Snippet from Safeguarding Training

DART (Domestic Abuse, Recovering Together) is a service set up by the NSPCC to provide a space for children and mothers who have been victims of domestic abuse and no longer live with the perpetrator, to come together with people who have been through a similar experience. This service is recognised by the Home Office. 

DART allows victims to talk with one another, communicate and rebuild relationships. The service is run over 10 weeks, and each week there are 2-hour group sessions for mums and children ages 7-14 years old. They work as a whole team and in smaller groups and learn about domestic abuse, how it can happen, how it affects children and children also discuss how they feel about their experiences with domestic abuse. 

The NSPCC is currently delivering this service in Northern Ireland only but you can make enquiries about having the service delivered locally. Until then, many local councils offer services to victims of domestic abuse which act very similarly. Simply Google your local council and domestic abuse services to see what they are able to offer you. 

How can I refer someone?

With the DART service, you can either refer yourself or a friend/loved one by emailing or get in touch with a centre where the service is delivered. 

Signs of domestic abuse in adults

While there is no definitive list of signs that suggest someone is a victim of domestic abuse, and a sufferer may show signs that differ from the below - there are a few warning signs that could suggest someone is suffering from domestic abuse:

  • Coming up with excuses for regular injuries
  • Changes in demeanour and personality
  • Always checking in with their partner
  • Worrying about pleasing their partner
  • Skipping on work/school/social events
  • Unusual clothing choices e.g. long sleeves in the summer (as if they are covering things up)
  • Agitation, anxiety, or constant apprehension
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Engaging in harmful behaviours

Showing just one or two - or even several - of these signs does not automatically mean someone is suffering from domestic abuse, but it’s good to have an awareness of the possibility.

Signs of domestic abuse in children

The WHO estimated that up to 1 billion minors (globally) between the ages of 2 and 17 years of age have endured physical, emotional, or sexual violence. 

Anyone that works with children should be able to recognise the signs that suggest a child is a potential victim of harm or abuse. While they are similar to the signs of abuse in adults, here are some of the possible signs in a child:

  • Exhibiting adult knowledge or behaviours (that are inappropriate for their age)
  • Anxiousness
  • Withdrawn behaviour
  • Extreme changes in behaviour 
  • Having a reduced number of friends and poor social skills
  • Poor relationships with parents or guardians
  • Frequent injuries or bruising
  • Bad hygiene
  • Running away from home or school

Again these signs do not automatically mean that a child is being abused, there could be other things that are causing these behaviours. But if you are concerned about a child’s safety, you should report it. 

Helpful Links

Below are some useful links for anyone that would like more information, help or advice...